In the workplace, the term ‘whistleblowing’ refers to a staff member who has reported misconduct that is either unethical, illegal or a potential danger, to the relevant authorities.

To report inappropriate behaviour in the workplace is not an easy decision for an employee to make. Sometimes the guilty party is a senior figure, so fear of repercussion can make those reporting cautious about how it may affect their own career.

When it comes to whistleblowing, those who opt to do it are protected legally by law, dispelling any notion of being sacked for reporting wrongdoing.

Read on to find out why businesses should put a whistleblowing policy in place and how staff can be encouraged to blow the whistle.

Make staff aware of the whistleblowing policy

The first thing employers and managers should do to encourage staff to report issues is publicise that the whistleblowing policy exists in the workplace.

By incorporating a whistleblowing support service companies can show that they’re dedicated to encouraging an ethical workplace. In return this should make workers more comfortable as they will not feel forced to withhold potentially detrimental information.

To make sure that every employee gets a chance to read about the whistleblowing policy, it is a good idea to use promotional materials and ensure they are displayed around the workplace, as well as sending email reminders to all staff.

This will give everyone peace of mind when reporting wrongdoing.

Make employees aware of the implications

As mentioned, one of the main worries employees face regarding whistleblowing is that they believe they could be dismissed.

Staff should be informed that due to The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, they are offered whistleblowing protection from being penalised or fired if they blow the whistle on another member of the workforce.

It’s also vital to make them aware that they can blow the whistle confidentially. This helps staff become trusting of the whistleblowing support service provided.

Make support for the policy clear

Employers and managing staff should make their support for the policy known to all, showing that they back the decision to report wrongdoing.

With a lead figure being positive about the policy, it removes any stigma towards ‘telling on’ a fellow employee or a senior figure. A step further would be to declare that whistleblowing is in fact very beneficial for business, and that any action taken is done in the businesses’ best interests.

Make the service accessible

As whistleblowing is a serious situation for all parties involved, make sure that the service is available for staff 24/7.

By employing the help of an external whistleblowing service, staff can report any wrongdoing to a person they have no connection to, and if it’s 24/7, employees can do this from their home or other more comfortable surroundings.

By having the opportunity to speak to a third-party representative, employees can feel free to explain the types of wrongdoing in a more in-depth and unwithheld fashion.

One thing is for certain – a whistleblowing service can only be a positive thing for a business and can create a happier and stress-free workforce as a result.

Withholding potentially detrimental information due to fear of repercussion can be very stressful for an employee, therefore this service is critical to encouraging positive communication in the workplace.

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